Sustainable Fisheries in EU Mediterranean waters through network of MPAs (SaFENet). Pilot project

Marine protected areas: networks(s) for enhancement of sustainable fisheries in EU Mediterranean waters. EU-DGMARE (MARE/2014/41)

Duration: 2015-2018

PI. Dr. Joachim Claudet & Dr. Paolo Guidetti


Project summary

SafeNet action aims to identify coherent network(s) of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other area-based fisheries management rules (e.g. temporary closures) whose emergent properties (namely the interactive effect of scaling-up MPAs) can help achieve fisheries maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and maximize over the long-term ecological and socio-economic benefits for the stakeholders in the north-western Mediterranean Sea (NWM). To meet this objective the partnership will apply the ecosystem-based approach to the management at both large scale and small scale fisheries in NWM. Project findings will be therefore key to achieve 1) good environmental status (GES; representing the main goal of Marine Strategy Framework Directive, MSFD) and 2) environmental, economic and social sustainability of fisheries (as dictated by Common Fisheries Policy, CFP). The project will be carried out addressing multiple sub-objectives with specific activities and tasks, at multiple spatial scales and combining existing information with new field data collected in a relevant number of case studies in order to perform both ecosystem-based and bio-economic modelling of a representative number of fisheries in the study area.


  1. to collate existing data about environmental, economic, social and institutional dimensions of fisheries in the NWM in order to provide a state of the art and identify information gaps, including all data relevant about MPAs and other area-based fisheries management rules;
  2. to perform field samplings to fill gaps previously identified;
  3. to develop food-web ecological models and indicators:
    i. to assess the current impacts of different fishery management features (e.g. spatial regulations including formal MPAs, fleet-specific management, species-specific quotas) in the NWM, and
    ii. to simulate the effects of potential alternative configurations of MPA networks;
  4. to integrate ecosystem-wide information with economic information to build spatially explicit bio-economic models and assess the performances of different management options from a multi-criteria perspective by considering and integrating stakeholders’ perspective;
  5. to synthesize project findings in order to provide (management and policy) guidelines and recommendations, and to disseminate information to key stakeholders through specific tools (e.g. leaflets, web pages) and events (e.g. workshops).

EII involvement

Software and methodology development, ecosystem modelling, big data analysis